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q5sys

Dug out the 1200XL from my parents basement and I need help from the experts

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Hey everybody,


So I'm obviously new around here and will definitely be needing to get a bunch of education from you all as I try to get everything I have in working order.  
My family had an Atari 1200XL when I was a kid, but by the time I was probably around 13 it ended up in a box and there it sat.  On a trip back to my parents house a few months ago I manage to dig the boxes out and took them back to my place.  I think I'm still missing one box of stuff, but I found three of them.  

 

I know the 1200XL needs help.  It's got a blown PCB trace on the back, and the power switch legs somehow got soldered together.  It looks like someone tried to repair it at some point, but they did a horrible job, but that's something I can fix pretty easily.  I'm not sure how it got in this state, I remember it working the last time I used it, but regardless, this is the state it's in now and I need to fix it.

 

However there's some other things I definitely need some guidance on.  First off, does anyone have a parts 1200XL that I could buy the port/cartridge cover off of?  Or at the very least, one I could rent for a few weeks so I can CAD out the design so I can 3D Print one for myself?  I'm not sure where the cover would have gone from mine, but I guess whoever took this apart misplaced it, so I need to get another one.   Or is anyone aware if someone has designed that part?

 

I also am curious what I need to do on the video side to get this thing sending out video once I get the power circuit fixed.

Let me be clear about one thing though, I've read through a bunch of threads on here and I know there's a lot of people that go into extensive modifications of thier systems.  I don't want to do that.  Maybe if I picked up another used model at some point I'd want to do all the fancy things to it, but at least right now all I want to do is getting it back in functional status... even if that means the colors are meh and its not as clear of an image as it could be. I want it to be as close to authentic as possible... warts and all.

 

I have a Commodore 1701 or 1702 monitor (not sure which exact model), so I'm thinking of using that for the Atari, but I'm not sure what else I'd need.  I do have some switch boxes but idk if they'll be useful with the 1200XL and that monitor. If I really need to, I can go find an old TV and use it... again I'm aiming for authentic... not plugging it into my modern flat panel TV.  Maybe in a few years I'll want to do that, but right now I want it to be period accurate. 

 

I took pics of everything that I found.  There should be a 1025 Printer somewhere, because I have the manual for it, but it's not in the boxes I found.  There should be more old games as well, that's why I think there's still another box somewhere I haven't found.

 

These pics were taken right as I pulled things out, so they're dusty, dirty, etc.  I do plan on slowly cleaning everything up, but I wanted to catalog everything in its current condition before I started doing anything with any of it.

 

https://www.pixl.photography/Atari-1200XL-Hardware


https://www.pixl.photography/Atari-Software/

 

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I see lots of mold and mildew. Resist turning anything on until you get everything cleaned up really well.

 

If you really don't want to do much in the way of upgrading, I'd at least look into the UAV video upgrade. You'll never see a cleaner composite output!

 

Good luck with getting everything going again.

 

 

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Well, you have a good haul there.  Nice hardware.  The printer, 1027, it will have a deteriorated printer wheel/head(the rubber on all of them turned to crap, no matter where they were stored).  No fix for it (yet).  All the plastics, of course, need a good bath.  Don't know why the jumped the power switch.  Those switches are easily found online.  As for for cart port/joystick port.  There is a guy here on the this site that may have the part.  Be sure to methodically go through board, after you clean it with alcohol or other non-residue type cleaner, and check the capacitors.  If any appear leaky or bulged on the sides or top, replace them first before power up.  The 1200XL is a 9volt system, input.  Please measure the output of the adapter first.  The 1027 power is something like 17volts or something like that, so isolate that puppy from the pack.  The accessories probably just need a good cleaning.  The 1050 drives may need to be opened.  Check for the belts being okay.  Be care not to knock the heads around.  The head rail can be lubed with a VERY small amount of white grease (used on garage door rails).  A little goes a very long way here.  The 1010 cassette drive probably needs the heads cleaned.  Those SIO cables really look nasty, clean those.  Go through the motherboard checking for broken traces and/or bad solder points.  Reflow as needed.  It's a great computer, you can upgrade the RAM memory very easily with Dropcheck's (see here on this site) RAMBOXL Reimaged 256K RAM upgrade board ($25 or so).  It is super easy to install and all the RAM you practically need.  Good luck.  

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Yet another response.  I am with you about not totally tricking out that machine.  As for video, I am currently using the plain old RF Out, and it is just fine (I hear gasps in the background).  As for 4Meg memories, not need (IMHO).  Overkill (IMHO).  Even with my easy-to-install RamboXL 256K RAM upgrade, there are precious few real programs (other than some really nifty demos) that take advantage of the RAM.  

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1 hour ago, bfollowell said:

I see lots of mold and mildew. Resist turning anything on until you get everything cleaned up really well.

If you really don't want to do much in the way of upgrading, I'd at least look into the UAV video upgrade. You'll never see a cleaner composite output!

Good luck with getting everything going again.

Yea, everything will be getting broken down and cleaned up before I attempt to plug anything in.  

 

13 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

Well, you have a good haul there.  Nice hardware.  The printer, 1027, it will have a deteriorated printer wheel/head(the rubber on all of them turned to crap, no matter where they were stored).  No fix for it (yet).  All the plastics, of course, need a good bath.  Don't know why the jumped the power switch.  Those switches are easily found online.  As for for cart port/joystick port.  There is a guy here on the this site that may have the part.  Be sure to methodically go through board, after you clean it with alcohol or other non-residue type cleaner, and check the capacitors.  If any appear leaky or bulged on the sides or top, replace them first before power up.  The 1200XL is a 9volt system, input.  Please measure the output of the adapter first.  The 1027 power is something like 17volts or something like that, so isolate that puppy from the pack.  The accessories probably just need a good cleaning.  The 1050 drives may need to be opened.  Check for the belts being okay.  Be care not to knock the heads around.  The head rail can be lubed with a VERY small amount of white grease (used on garage door rails).  A little goes a very long way here.  The 1010 cassette drive probably needs the heads cleaned.  Those SIO cables really look nasty, clean those.  Go through the motherboard checking for broken traces and/or bad solder points.  Reflow as needed.  It's a great computer, you can upgrade the RAM memory very easily with Dropcheck's (see here on this site) RAMBOXL Reimaged 256K RAM upgrade board ($25 or so).  It is super easy to install and all the RAM you practically need.  Good luck.  

Confirmed on the printer head being deteriorated on the 1027.  I'm not too worried about that as I'm pretty sure there's a 1025 somewhere I still need to find.  And I dont think I'll be printing anything anytime in the near future, so I'm not too bothered by the printer head being toast. 
I wont be putting any power to this until I'm able to go over and check everything.  I already planned on checking all the Caps and Resistors.   Thankfully I've got a bunch of those power bricks, so hopefully at least one of them is good.  Thanks for the tips on the other items.  I do have to admit I'm a bit overjoyed to find that there's a community out there that still loves this stuff and that the knowledge of everything hasn't been lost to history.  

16 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

Lithium grease for the drive rails.  Couldn't think of the name of the grease.

Copy that. 

12 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

After its bath, a clean rag with some Armorall will make that chocolate colored gem sparkle.  

Yea, I look forward to being able to get everything nice and clean again.

8 minutes ago, gilsaluki said:

Yet another response.  I am with you about not totally tricking out that machine.  As for video, I am currently using the plain old RF Out, and it is just fine (I hear gasps in the background).  As for 4Meg memories, not need (IMHO).  Overkill (IMHO).  Even with my easy-to-install RamboXL 256K RAM upgrade, there are precious few real programs (other than some really nifty demos) that take advantage of the RAM.  

I wont complain at more information. :)  I've done hot-rodding of older PCs before, and while it's fun to build a maxed out 386 and 486 machine at a certain point it's just silly.  It's a fun journey to take, but at the end of the day a lot of the upgrades I did to my 486 machine aren't really beneficial in a day to day situation.  Since I played with this Atari when I was a kid, I want it to be as close to what I remember as I can.   I might still pick up another unit at some point to trick out with all the bells and whistles... but at a certain point... ripping all the media and running it on an emulator makes more sense.  
For me the appeal of running the older hardware is that you get the authentic experience warts and all, like I mentioned before.

 

 

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1 hour ago, q5sys said:

one I could rent for a few weeks so I can CAD out the design so I can 3D Print one for myself?

you have not indicated home location, but if you are in the USA, I have three 1200XL i could take the side cover cartridge area off of one and Mail it to you as a loner for your 3D printing efforts.  for shipping cost (to be return when I get the stuff back.)

I am in Arizona....USA..

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14 minutes ago, Gunstar said:

@q5sys I private messaged you about the 1200XL side case part...

I'll PM you back in a few minutes.

 

14 minutes ago, Roydea6 said:

you have not indicated home location, but if you are in the USA, I have three 1200XL i could take the side cover cartridge area off of one and Mail it to you as a loner for your 3D printing efforts.  for shipping cost (to be return when I get the stuff back.)

I am in Arizona....USA..

Oh, yea... guess that would have been helpful.  I'm in the US, DC area.

Also to asure everyone I'm not trying to scam anyone.  I'm an open source developer.  I was a puppylinux dev about 10 years ago, these days I work on the Lumina Desktop (a Linux Desktop) and Project Trident (a Linux distro), my github profile is here: https://github.com/q5sys/
I've also been the producer of quite a few Linux and Open Source based Podcasts (Linux Action show, Linux Unplugged, Ask Noah Show, BSD Now, etc)


I'd prefer to find one I could buy outright, so I have a properly complete unit, but I will still be working up a CAD of the part, so that anyone can get it printed if they need it.   There are a bunch of places that will print and mail stuff for people that dont have printers.  It looks to be a relatively simple geometric part so shouldn't be expensive to print.  The biggest challenge will be getting the measurements for the angles accurate enough so it doesnt look wrong.

 

Edited by q5sys

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@bob1200xl is the guy that can help you with all things 1200XL. He started a topic a while back for selling off things from his vast supply, you might want to check it out. You could probably pick up a new motherboard from him for your 1200XL.

 

 

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11 minutes ago, mytek said:

@bob1200xl is the guy that can help you with all things 1200XL. He started a topic a while back for selling off things from his vast supply, you might want to check it out. You could probably pick up a new motherboard from him for your 1200XL.

Thanks!  I'll drop a message in his thread.  

Edited by q5sys

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17 hours ago, gilsaluki said:

After its bath, a clean rag with some Armorall will make that chocolate colored gem sparkle.  

I would recommend baby oil over Armor All. The baby oil will rejuvenate the lanolin in the plastic while the Armor All will replace it.  Replacing it causes the plastic to look good for awhile and then turn dingy, requiring indefinite repeated applications. 

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That is the first software collection I've ever seen that does not include any pirated items!  Amazing!  🙂

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